Do you feel me, fam?
When I was a naïve 16-year-old in high school, I once dreamt of getting married and having babies—I still do. But back when I thought romance was an easy concept and one that would easily fall on my lap, I created a timeline in my head: Meet someone in my early 20s, get engaged by the time I’m 25, get married at 26, have my first baby when I’m 27. I wanted three kids and I wanted them all before I turned 35.
According to past me, I should be a wife and a mother now. Well, I’m sorry to disappoint that Catholic school girl, but I’m officially in my late 20s, still single and nowhere near having a baby.
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But as I tread this singlehood life, everyone else around me seems to be sticking to my timeline. It seems like every week, an old friend from high school has a shiny new ring on her finger or a classmate from college is announcing a baby on the way. Seriously, I think I watched five weddings unfold on social media this year—and it’s only May.
So if you’re the type to still drink with your friends on the weekends and watch Netflix crime documentaries alone in your down time, I feel you. I feel you hard.
Look, it’s not like I haven’t tried. I’ve dated, I’ve been in love and I’ve had my heart broken. I’ve happily lost hours beside someone while we laughed and shared secrets and I’ve had to say words that put an end to evenings like those. But throughout the complications and happiness and fucking loss, I learned what I want, what I don’t and what I should walk away from.
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I revel in conversations that push me to say thoughts I haven’t dared to utter out loud. There’s a sense of fulfillment that I get when I go home at the end of a long day after cheap food and tight hugs. I have fun when I’m out with my friends and my phone doesn’t beep every so often asking me how much I’ve had to drink, what time I’m going home and why I’m taking “so long” to reply.
I live for moments on long car rides, singing out loud to music from my childhood (makeshift mic in hand, of course). A smile creeps up on my face every time I willingly push back my self-inflicted curfew for a few extra minutes of shared silence. There’s no room in my life for games, drunk texts and jealousy—I’ll see these out the door and even push them out if I have to.
I refuse to settle for less than what I want and I’m not in the business of keeping my mouth shut to spare someone else’s feelings. Or, at least, I’m not anymore; I’m 27 for fuck’s sake.
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Do I get lonely? Yes. Do I cast my eyes down when I see a happy couple walking past me? Sometimes. Do I wish I could have someone to hold while I watch rom-coms? Definitely. But am I disappointed with where I am in life? Not really.
I may not have stuck to the self-imposed deadlines I created when I felt like I was an adult (and was really just a hopeful/angst-filled teenager), but present me is fine and independent and can confidently buy one ticket for the movie house. So, yes, I’ve had years of failed romances and memories that I wish I could forget, but they gave me more than what (and whom) I lost. And if a few extra years will lead me to something and someone that I can happily and satisfyingly wake up to in the morning, then I’ll wait—even if the end result is just me, watching a Netflix crime documentary while I sip on some iced coffee.
Art Alexandra Lara